prompts review of practices
accounting, managing changes
(March 2010) A recent study of the strengths
and weaknesses of the Madison Parks and Recreation Department yielded
some positive changes for city hall as a whole, said Mayor Tim Armstrong.
The city paid $13,000 for consultant Woodburn, Kyle and Co. to review
the management and procedures of the Parks Department in an effort to
increase revenue and reduce expenses. In January, the results of the
study were presented to the Parks Board.
It was a good study with great directional value, said consultant
Peter Woodburn. As we expected, we found the venues, such as Crystal
Beach Pool, are highly respected.
Park Broadway Fountain
Crystal Beach Pool
John Paul Park
Johnson Lake Park
Madison B3 Skate Park
Michigan Road Tennis
Playground for All Children
Sunrise Golf Course
Warren R. Rucker Sports Complex
West End Park
For the research, 41 confidential interviews of community
leaders and civic workers were conducted to identify strengths and weaknesses
within the department. Represen-tatives from both the city and community
at large were selected to participate in the interviews.
One new thing we discovered is that people want the parks department
to broaden its programming to include non-sports related events,
The study also listed ways the parks department could develop innovative
approaches to programming, make better use of the Heritage Trail and
Bicentennial Parks, consider a public-private partnership, and increase
promotion and collaboration.
We took the study to heart, and we are working to make some of
the recommended changes, said Armstrong. We feel the study
addressed some real concerns and gave us a positive direction to move
He said one recommendation was to better develop quality of life programming
within the parks that would include events for healthier lifestyles,
art and culture, and historic preservation.
We plan to work with community groups to get a better idea of
what is needed and wanted, he said. We plan to improve what
we have and expand to add a variety of additional programming.
Armstrong said he looks forward to working with new Parks and Recreation
Department Superintendent David Stucker, who recently replaced Harold
Pee Wee Lakeman. Stucker was formerly the Water Department
Manager and brings 19 years of corporate experience and knowledge of
parks and recreation from his previous job within the Hanover Parks
and Recreation Department.
Stucker is a real catch for us, said Armstrong. His
background in industry and his skills with people are a true benefit
Scott Davidson, director of sports programming for the parks department
said that Madison has developed a reputation as an arts haven, so adding
in arts and culture to the programming could definitely be a positive
If people are interested in adding arts events, then we need to
work with the appropriate people and see what we can do, he said.
The study also identified several weaknesses within the parks department
that included a management philosophy of always done it that way,
a lack of a clear vision and no formalized planning, budgeting and purchasing
practices that could be revamped and an accounting approach that would
benefit from a business model of accounting rather than a governmental
In 2009, the parks department was appropriated $1,396,739 in operations.
The Jefferson County tax draw was $662,998, while the Jefferson County
Treasurer added in $23,500. Part of that total was $659,879 generated
by the parks department as earned income.
We bring in lots but spend more than we should, said Armstrong.
He said city officials took a good look around and realized
some of the recommendations could also be put to practice by the city
as a whole.
We are now trying to buy in bulk instead of department by department,
and we are reorganizing some areas and finding ways to keep better track
of spending, he said. We are also combining positions within
the city to eliminate unnecessary personnel.
Back to March 2010 Articles.